Arsenal vs Liverpool 1-1 in first leg

Posted on April 3, 2008. Filed under: UEFA | Tags: , , , |

Tonights Champion’s League match at the Emirates stadium ended 1-1 under controversial circumstances. Adebayor rose up to nod home a corner kick after 23 minutes but Liverpool retaliated quickly. Gerard made an intelligent run past two defenders and centered the ball along the 6 yard line for Kuyt to slide it in on 26 minutes (although it may have actually come off Clichy in the end). The remainder of the match was pretty much all Arsenal trying to break down 9-10 men behind the ball and Liverpool were only really putting long balls through for Torres. The moment of controversy came on 65 minutes when Hleb slalomed through several defenders and was then clearly brought down by Kuyt only for the ref to award a corner instead of a spot kick. Five minutes later Arsenal had their best chance to get back ahead when the ball found Fabregas whose outstretched foot had guided it towards the net, only needing to roll in with the keeper beaten, until Bentner stepped in and cleaned up on Liverpool’s behalf. A stunning goal line blunder where he only needed to open his legs and let it roll through. Video highlights to follow later.

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Inter vs Liverpool 0-1

Posted on March 12, 2008. Filed under: Inter, UEFA | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Four goals in 25 minutes from ten men. That’s what was required shortly after Torres sunk Inter’s chances in the 64th minute.

Although Inter played very well for most of the game, they can only blame themselves for not being clinical in front of goal. Too many chances were wasted and although Burdisso’s second yellow just before 50 minutes was soft and they will feel somewhat robbed again, it doesn’t change the fact that they didn’t put away the goals when they should have. Mancini should take some blame for a questionable starting line up. Figo should have started, he’s the only player that could have consistently opened up Liverpool’s defense and supply the attackers with the perfect ball. Although Zlatan failed to deliver yet again in a big match, the pressure perhaps too much for him. At least the defense was playing well, apart from the occasional Maicon lapse but Cambiasso and Vieira needed creativity in front of them.

We’ll have to suffer some more this season as champions league glory isn’t realised for the umpteenth time. Check out the highlights below, hopefully they’ll last without UEFA claiming them off youtube.

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Cordoba out for return leg

Posted on February 23, 2008. Filed under: Inter, Players, UEFA | Tags: , , , |

Cordoba went to ground during the second half of the champions league encounter between Inter and Liverpool. He was immediately replaced and could be seen clutching his knee in some pain. It’s been revealed that the damage is worse than first expected and he has injured his ACL (anterior cruciate ligament). This injury is much more common in soccer than Ronaldo’s injury which ruptured his patella tendon but it can be about as serious. Cordoba may have only partially torn his ACL but will still need surgery. He is definitely out of the return leg where Inter have their work cut out. A real shame as he was solid as ever during the match.

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Inter vs Liverpool CL – second half and highlights

Posted on February 21, 2008. Filed under: Inter, UEFA, Video | Tags: , , |

Continuing my post from yesterday’s match, there was a good chance for Liverpool just after the restart when Finnan played a 1-2 and could have caused a lot of trouble if he wasn’t blocked. Mancini was forced to remove Cruz for Vieira on 54 minutes and leave Ibrahimovic alone in attack due to the missing player. On 57 minutes, Julio Caesar was called into action again, saving brilliantly after Torres received a fortunate rebound which set him on his way. On the hour mark Vieira was lucky not to give away a penalty after handling the ball in the area and Liverpool continued their domination in everything except goals. 73% possession in the second half and so many chances. Torres almost found the net a few minutes later and Lucas was replaced by Crouch in an attempt to use his ridiculous height.

It wasn’t until 67 minutes until Inter had their first corner and a minute later Ibrahimovic and Cambiasso were involved in a nice interchange which ultimately saw the Swede in an offside position. Rafa replaced Babel with Pennant, hoping to use his pace on the right but he caused little worry for Inter. Vieira had a shot but it was quite wide. A couple of minutes later Crouch had a real chance but he wasted it in trying to do too much. Unfortunately, Cordoba fell awkwardly and had to go off for Burdisso, a real shame because he was solid the entire match prevent any and all Liverpool attacks. On 82 minutes Inter had a good chance on the break with Vieira running at the defense but his pass to Ibrahimovic was lacking. Finally in the 84th minute Liverpool scored. Kuyt shot at goal and it was deflected downward off Maicon’s boot and ended up bouncing just in front of Julio Cesar who did not have time to readjust. Five minutes later Gerrard sealed the win with a shot into the far post.

Inter will host Liverpool in the return leg but have a lot to do now thanks to bad refereeing. Check out the highlights below.

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Inter vs Liverpool CL – first half update

Posted on February 20, 2008. Filed under: Inter, UEFA | Tags: , , |

The first half of this heavyweight clash began with the home side having most of the possession and pressuring Inter a lot in the first 10 minutes. The ref was handing out yellow cards like they were going out of fashion as Torres fell with any light knock. On three minutes the first went to Chivu with Aurellio putting the resulting free kick over the bar. Julio Cruz and Cordoba were solid in denying the early Liverpool chances. On 11 minutes, Materazzi picked up a yellow which was very soft as Torres fell while out-pacing the Italian to the ball.

Liverpool were marking Ibrahimovic very tightly and allowing very little space for Inter’s attack. As time went on Inter began to get into the match a lot more but generally sloppy passing was preventing them building up well. With 29 minutes on the clock, another soft Torres drop to the ground saw Materazzi pick up his second yellow and head off for an early shower. An incredibly harsh and ridiculous decision which left Inter with a lot to do. Next Torres tried to lure Cambiasso with a few cheeky slaps on the face as the young Spaniard gave away a free kick but the experienced midfielder wasn’t falling for his bait. On 44 minutes Liverpool had one of their best chances with a cut across the face of goal but now one to put it away and Maicon cleared fairly casually.

Barely a minute of stoppage time as the teams paused for the break but Inter with a great deal to do now! More to follow later…

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Liverpool vs Manchester United

Posted on December 15, 2007. Filed under: EPL | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

In one of the many mouth-watering clashes of this weekend, Liverpool will play host as they square off with Manchester United on Sunday. Liverpool are coming off the back of a 4-0 thrashing of Marseille which should definitely boost their confidence but I don’t think you can compare Manchester United to Marseille at the moment.

Manchester are sitting in second place with 48 points while Liverpool are only two places behind with 45 points. A win for Liverpool will tie them on points while Man U has a good chance to open up a 6 point gap and claim the top of the table (depending on the outcome of the Arsenal/Chelsea match).

Ferdinand and Vidic are expected to start in the heart of Manchester United’s defence and Hargreaves and Anderson will probably run the midfield. Torres will probably start for Liverpool as he’s in blazing form right now (interestingly Ferguson has admitted that he tried to sign Torres for years before Rafa was able to snap him up, perhaps due to the Spanish connection). Mascherano is apparently fully fit and ready to go after some doubts as to whether he would start (he was limping about during the UEFA CL match after taking a knock). Hyypia and Carragher will most likely have to content with Rooney, Tevez and Ronaldo. A job that I don’t envy at all, especially considering the latter may walk away with world player of the year the next day.

Things that may unsettle the Liverpool camp include Sissoko’s dissatisfaction with the coach for giving him very little playing time recently. He has found himself always behind Steven Gerard, Javier Mascherano and Xabi Alonso. He seems to be fed up and will more that likely leave during the summer. Rafa is also under great pressure to produce the results after altercations with the club owners. Apparently he has a meeting following the game which could decide his fate. That’s a whole lotta pressure.

It’s alway tough to play Liverpool at home and neither Arsenal, nor Chelsea have been able to crack them this season. But I have a feeling the Manchester are up to the task.

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Arsenal vs Manchester United

Posted on October 30, 2007. Filed under: EPL, Video | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

So Arsenal and Manchester United are set to face off this weekend in a top of the table clash. Both teams are sitting on 26 points, although Arsenal is on top through goal difference and still has a game in hand. Many will say that this game could decide the eventual league champion but I feel it’s far too early for that. It does promise to be a hugely entertaining match though. With Fabregas in hot form, he may be able do dictate the match but Manchester United also have a few players in form as well with the likes of Nani, Tevez and as always, Christiano Ronaldo.

Gerard lavished praise on Fabregas after he equalised against Liverpool to grab a point and maintain Arsenal’s unbeaten run. His team mate Gallas also had kind words in saying that he can be the best with a little discipline to not push himself too much when tired. The draw didn’t do Arsenal justice as they outplayed Liverpool for most of the match, but that’s the way it turns out sometimes. Even Carragher confirmed this in stating that it would’ve been harsh is Arsenal did not come away from the match with something to show.

Although Man U have been slow to kick their season off, they have started to play some high quality football lately. Arsenal has had a great start but Christiano Ronaldo has come out to say that the race to the premiership title is a marathon, not a sprint suggesting that Arsenal may run out of steam before the end of it. He does raise a good point, Man U has a large squad with a bench that could make another top level team, while Arsenal is relying on it’s youngsters and doesn’t quite have the same depth in reserve. News that Paul Scholes is out for at least 3 months (he needs a knee operation to repair ligament damage sustained in training) means that the reserves will already get a chance.

Check out Arsenal’s draw with Liverpool below.

As well as Manchester United’s slaughtering of Middlesbrough.

Independent thoughts

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UEFA Champions League Oct 3 wrap

Posted on October 4, 2007. Filed under: UEFA, Video | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Apart from Liverpool’s lackluster match against Marseille, the rest of the fixtures for groups A,B,C and D played out as follows…

Real Madrid and Lazio battled their way to equal points and a 2-2 draw. A brace from Van Nistelrooy took the prolific striker to 56 champions league goals but Pandev had a brace of his own for Madrid. The defensive ability of the great club was brought into question yet again as they were left exposed on various occasions. They were lucky to take any points away from this trip to Italy.

AC Milan traveled to meet Celtic in Glasgow and weren’t up to the task of defeating the “hoops” at home. The club with few wins in serie A of late can’t even turn to their usually good performances in Europe at the moment as Celtic took all points with a 2-1 win. McManus headed in from a corner to make the score 1-0 and Milan leveled after Kaka’ put away a penalty awarded for a foul on Ambrosini. Celtic made it 2-1 at the death after another Dida blunder that allowed the Aussie striker, McDonald, to slot away the rebound.

Olympiacos beat Werder Bremen, 3-1 after an amazing second-half come back to leave the German hosts with a sour taste in their mouths. Almeida was able to put away at least one of his many chances during the night to put Bremen in the lead, 1-0 but it wasn’t to last as Olympiacos came back to put 3 goals away in the second half. An amazing second goal from Patsatzoglu found the back of the net with a little help from a deflection.

Schalke defeated Rosenburg 2-0 with goals from Jones and Kuranyi making a successful roadtrip. Shakhtar were also able to upset their hosts, beating Benfica 1-0 in Lisbon. Continuing the tradition of wins on the road, this time it was Benfica’s league rivals, Porto, that were able to take 3 points from Besiktas in Turkey. The brilliant Quaresma waited until the 92nd minute to put the only goal of the match away.

Finally it was Chelsea that were also able to defeat their Spanish hosts proving that they’re not in crisis just yet after Mourinho’s departure. But it was David Villa that opened the scoring for the home side with a bit of luck allowing the ball to fall in a good position for him. Drogba combined well with Malouda, allowing the later to play the ball across the 6-yard line for Joe Cole to tap in and level the scores. Finally Drogba calmly placed a shot towards the far post and allowed Chelsea to go home 2-1 winners over Valencia.

[Video length: 4m11s]

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Liverpool vs Marseille (UEFA CL)

Posted on October 4, 2007. Filed under: UEFA, Video | Tags: , , , , |

Liverpool hosted Marseille in a game where the former failed to deliver. Liverpool seemed to be lacking inspiration and motivation but the same was not true for Marseille. The visitors controlled the match right up until they scored in the 77th minute and it was only then that Liverpool seemed to wake up and tried to pull a goal back and at least grab a point. The goal was scored by Valbuena and was perhaps the goal of the matchday. A perfectly driven strike from outside the area into the top-right corner which bounced off the cross-bar into the net and left Reina as a mere spectator.

[Video length: 1m21s]

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